The following is a guest blog post by professional evening student Turquiose Ross, who participated in our McLauchlan Leadership Series this past year.
When I decided to enroll in the Jenkins MBA program, my initial driving force was to create a space in STEM careers that welcomes and encourages diversity, especially for underrepresented groups. This is my passion; however, finding the connection between skill set, purpose and leadership ability is my biggest challenge. One would define me as an introvert, selecting to work alone and in quiet spaces. So how, then, could I become the leader that my passion calls me to be if I am not effective in making changes in my own life? Sure, business courses teach how to operate a business and provide the tools to make managerial decisions, but building a business and leading are two different things. I was fortunate to be accepted into the McLauchlan Leadership Series which helped me start to fill in that gap.
Leadership is about energy: how one controls their own energy, the energy of the room and the energy of the team. Have you ever watched as a great leader enters a room and almost demands everyone’s attention? Or how cool and calm a great leader is in the face of adversity? A great leader can recognize her energy levels and will make herself a priority so as not to respond to others in a catabolic way. Of course, I am still a work in progress, but I have some gems that I will hold sacred for the rest of my life as a result of being a part of this series. Emotional Intelligence is the most powerful of them all.
When I started in the program, I held a self-deprecating attitude which translated into my work and personal life. I did not realize that I was deserving of and capable of great things and as a result, I was constantly looked over for new opportunities, allowed others to take credit for my work, and sat back living life passively. As soon as the first session was completed in this program, I started to recognize those non-verbal cues and negative thinking patterns that gave others permission to treat me with little regard because I subconsciously did not believe I could be the successful person I see in my mind. I started to show up in my life, which eventually led to a raise in my current position. I asked for what I needed, for what I know I deserved, and I received it.
This program showed me that I needed to be more self-aware and challenged me to make myself a priority. As a result of the leadership challenge, I have completely changed my life around and I absolutely show up for me every day at work, as a parent and in my relationships. I realized that I already had the grit to persevere through the tough times and now I have my “why”, and I am making all efforts to reach my full potential.
Many will say that leading is about delegating responsibility and being the head honcho. Although that may suffice in the short run, a true revolutionary leader creates her own destiny by being at her best and allowing the people around her to be their best as well.